The Halles Library in Paris has been named the greenest library in the world. This is why.

Lens without plastic, refurbished equipment, public awareness of ecological issues, paper saving… In France, as abroad, libraries are going green.

The book industry is greening, and not just in publishers or bookstores. For seven consecutive years, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), founded in Edinburgh in 1927, has presented the “Green Library Award”, sponsored by the German publishing house Walter de Gruyter GmbH.

But what exactly do we mean by “green library”? For the Media Library Canopée La Fontaine, winner of the Green Library 2022, this involves several areas. Starting with the quality of the material. In particular, the Parisian media library, located in the Forum des Halles, has chosen to get rid of the plastic film intended to protect some of its works (particularly those with a short lifespan such as magazines).

seed swap

There is also a “grainothèque-bouturothèque”, designed with furniture made entirely from recycled parts, with small envelopes in which visitors can help themselves and deposit their seeds. The media library also thinks about the fate of books that leave the establishment permanently and ensures that the works are donated to associations or recycling companies free of charge. The media library also raises awareness among visitors: on its website, for example, there is a ‘green library’ tab, with articles explaining in detail the principles of their eco-responsible approach.

This year, another French bookshop was spotted by IFLA: the Breton media library Mouezh ar Galon in Tourc’h in Finistère. It was known for its community garden aimed at developing biodiversity.

Foreign libraries are also included: the list of finalists for the Green Library Award includes Jette in Belgium, spotted thanks to the Plannotek project, which offers to adopt a plant. The Valente Branch Library, located in Boston in the United States, focuses on the building’s energy consumption and has taken a series of measures to reduce costs: reservoir for collecting rainwater and toilet flushing, geothermal wells, native and drought-resistant plants, etc.

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